MediaFile

Cloud gaming service OnLive coming to the TV

US-REARDEN-ONLIVEOnLive, the closely-watched startup that is aiming to change the way people buy and play video games, officially launched last June. But the company says that was a mere warmup for the main event, which begins in a few weeks.

OnLive emerged from years of stealth development in 2009 with a somewhat audacious plan to offer so-called “cloud gaming”:  instant, on-demand and lag-free access to video games stored remotely on servers in data centers.

The service started last June but was only accessible through a PC. But starting Thursday, OnLive began taking orders for its $99 “microconsole,” which connects easily to a TV and which will be delivered starting Dec. 2. Using the console, users can access a catalog of games that will grow to 50 by the end of the year, including big-name titles such as “Borderlands” and “NBA 2K11″

OnLive poses a threat to traditional home consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3, but only if it works as advertised and there are no stutters or hiccups in the game stream.

OnLive Chief Executive Steve Perlman said the carefully managed launch for PCs last June was to ensure that the company’s network could indeed handle the demand. But he said PC gaming only represents around 10 percent of the market, and that TVs are where the real action is. He won’t divulge OnLive’s user base, but said it has already hosted more than than 2 million game sessions.

Palm Chief promises “hits” for HP

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Six months after Hewlett-Packard announced it was buying smartphone pionners Palm  for $1 billion, technology watchers are still waiting to see just what emerges from the high-profile marriage.

Palm chief Jon Rubinstein still isn’t tipping his hand on any details around smartphones and tablets that are due next year from the new HP unit. But he certainly made no effort to manage expectations on Tuesday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

“It’s absolutely a hits business…We have several products that will clearly be hits when they come out,” said Rubinstein, who predicted “tremendous growth” in devices based on webOS, the Palm platform that HP acquired when it bought the company this year for roughly $1 billion.

Sprint gets iPhone too? Well, not really

While the rumor mill has been heating to a frenzy over whether and when Verizon Wireless will get its hands on iPhone,  Sprint Nextel has quietly found its own way to associate its brand with Apple’s i-empire, in the form of a wireless case for the iPod Touch. ZTE_3200_PEEL_GL

On Sunday Sprint will start selling  Peel,  a ZTE-made  case for the iPod Touch, that will connect the device via Wi-Fi to its cellular network.

This means Sprint customers will be able to connect their iPod Touch to the Internet via Sprint’s cellular network rather than depending on Wi-Fi, a short-range wireless technology that is widely installed in places such as coffee shops or airports but more limited in coverage than cellular networks.

Jawbone maker branches out with Jambox speaker

JAMBOX_Black Diamond HandAliph, one of the most successful venture capital-backed consumer electronics start-ups in the U.S., has carved out a lucrative niche for itself making the high-end Jawbone mobile phone headset. But the company is launching a new product that will take it in a new direction, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The company on Thursday unveiled the $199 Jambox, a Bluetooth wireless portable speaker which does double duty as a speaker phone. Aliph hopes it will become a must-have accessory for owners of iPhones, iPads and billions of other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

“This is the first step into a whole new world beyond headsets,” said Aliph CEO and founder Hosain Rahman.

Netflix model spreads to college textbooks

E-textbooks may be the way of the future for college campuses, but some scrappy companies are banking on the here and now by offering a solution to bring low-cost textbooks to students, and in some ways they’re taking a page out of movie rental company Netflix Inc’s playbook.Reader

New college textbooks are a $4.5 billion business for dominant players such as Pearson PLC, privately held Cengage Learning and McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.  But upstart companies such as Chegg and BookRenter.com are gaining momentum by offering used books at a discount on their websites, and shipping them to students, who later ship the books back when they are done with them.

If that sounds a little like Netflix’s business model, it may not be that much of a coincidence. Marc Randolph, who was a co-founder of Netflix, is a board member on the privately-held BookRenter.com.

What’s holding up the white Apple iPhone?

APPLE/Apple-philes waiting breathlessly for the white iPhone 4 will need to hang on even longer before they …well, wait in line outside their nearest Apple store to get their hands on one.

The company announced on Tuesday it’s delaying the release of the white model again, this time until next spring. It’s the third such delay since the latest version of the popular smartphone was released in June.

“We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone again,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters.

HP’s Slate tablet: The early reviews

Hewlett-Packard, at long last, has released the tablet computer first glimpsed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January, and it is a decidedly different take than what we’ve seen so far in the tablet space. Basically a business netbook sans a keyboard. That’s a far cry from Apple’s iPad — and maybe that’s the point.

The initial reviews of the HP Slatslate2e 500 are starting to trickle in and they are something of a mixed bag. There is plenty to debate, to be sure. The device sports Windows 7, Wi-Fi but no 3G, and has no app store link-up. But it features a digital stylus pen, has a relatively fast processor and plenty of room for storage. And then there is the little matter of that hefty $799 price tag, which has surprised more than a few people, given that the iPad starts at $499.

HP is not even pretending to be targeting the same buyers as the iPad. And a more interesting HP vs Apple showdown is likely to come next year, when HP releases the webOS tablet that everyone is curious to get a peek at.

CES: I want a flying drone (video)

I mean, who doesn’t want their own drone? The military has them, so why can’t I?

parrot

Seriously, one of the more eye-opening devices seen at CES was this hovercraft/helicopter/remote drone, which is controlled by — get this — an iPhone or iPod Touch. Its developed by Parrot, and intended to be used for games — but I’m thinking it can help me with walking my dog, or getting the paper on chilly mornings.

Listen to Parrot engineer Martin Lefebure (he’s off-camera) describe its uses, while he pilots its.  See more of their demos here.

CES: “Green” envy on Day 2

Fuji EnviroMAX batteries

Several exhibitors took up the “green” theme at CES 2009 as the “Pre” party continued. Any chance Dell had to upstage Palm disappeared in a cloud of secrecy with the “Adamo” laptop it briefly presented, but gave no details about.

Fuji said its EnviroMAX alkaline batteries were made of more than 90 percent recycled materials, had no mercury, cadmium and were PVC free.

Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies said their “HydroPack” water-activated and portable power system HydroPak could provide 4 to 5 hours of 50 watt emergency power without pollution or noise.